£120,000 for Doncaster playground

Briar Road Multi Use Games Area, Armthorpe. Picture: Marie Caley
Briar Road Multi Use Games Area, Armthorpe. Picture: Marie Caley

This is the most expensive playground in Doncaster – costing an eye-watering £120,839.

The Multi-use Play Area at Briar Road, Armthorpe, is made up of a hard base, basketball hoops, football goals, a fence and some floodlights.

But it has been revealed as the most expensive piece of spending by Doncaster Council last year, from money it takes from developers who are building in the borough.

The £120,000 cost was revealed after The Star asked the council for figures for money it has received and spent under section 106 agreements – deals which oblige developers to put up money for local projects as a condition of their planning permission.

The facility on Briar Road also received £2,500 for maintenance of its lights, and £1,000 for maintenance of its equipment.

The cost of the play area surprised one concerned councillor – but Doncaster Council says it was so expensive because it was built on contaminated land which had to be treated before work could start on building it.

Independent Coun Martin Williams said: “It seems an awful lot of money. I think it certainly sounds extravagant.”

There are big cuts being made by the council, although section 106 money has to be spent in a particular area.

“If you are going to build something, you have to do it with the right contractor at the right price.”

The council says the land was previously a landfill site which was capped and covered in top soil.

Karen Johnson, assistant director for communities at the council, said: “Section 106 money is received from developers with the purpose of improving public facilities.

“This money, which was received from developers building in Armthorpe, could only therefore be spent on projects such as this within the local area.

“The cost of this project reflects the fact there were ground contamination issues on this site which we had to deal with before building.

“As we own the land, this is something Doncaster Council was always going to have to deal with if it was to be developed in any way as a community facility.

“Recreational facilities play an important role within communities in providing diversionary activities for young people. Residents in this area told us there was a real need for some investment in a games area.

“There is very little green space in Armthorpe belonging to the council that could accommodate the play area, but the Briar Road site is ideally located in the middle of a housing estate.

“It is important that we put facilities in locations such as this where they are easy to access. We have had good feedback from the community about this play area which is well used by local children and young people.”

The project was signed off in March 2013 under the previous administration, says the council.

In total, the council spent £661,965 of its section 106 cash on public open space - meaning the one play area took up a sixth of that spending.

Other big spends were Gally Field open space improvements at £65,218, Rossington public open space improvements at £56,483, and Woodfield Plantation Maintenance, costing £40,000.

Another £39,574 was spent on Bentley Park and Pavilion.

Cantley Park Natural Play Area received £20,322.